Fri, 10 Dec 2021

Quick Hits: Bears lament failure to finish

Chicago Bears
23 Nov 2021, 00:37 GMT+10

Larry Mayer

Stout the entire game, the Bears defense needed one final stop to preserve an exciting comeback 13-9 victory over the Ravens Sunday at Soldier Field.

Unfortunately, the injury-depleted unit allowed Baltimore to drive 72 yards on five plays and score the winning touchdown on Devonta Freeman's 3-yard run with just :22 remaining. It was the Ravens' first and only TD of the game.

"It's sickening; I'll just put it that way," outside linebacker Robert Quinn said after Sunday's disheartening 16-13 loss. "It's a punch to the gut. We had the lead. The Ravens had the ball. It was on the defense to close it out and we didn't do that."

Highlights: Bears vs. Ravens | 2021 Week 11 Game Recap: Bears fall to Ravens Matt Nagy: 'The guys are battling, but in the end we're not finishing' | Press Conference

After Andy Dalton's 49-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin on fourth-and-11 had given the Bears a late 13-9 lead, Baltimore took over at its own 28 with 1:31 to play. On the first two snaps, Kindle Vildor drew a 21-yard pass interference penalty and quarterback Tyler Huntley-a second-year pro making his first NFL start-completed a 21-yard pass to receiver Devin Duvernay to the Bears' 30.

On third-and-12 from the 32, Huntley took advantage of a coverage breakdown in the Bears secondary and hit wide open receiver Sammy Watkins for 29 yards to the 3, setting up Freeman's game-winning TD run on the next play.

"I didn't really see who it was, I just saw a guy wide open," said inside linebacker Alec Ogletree. "Usually those kind of things happen with miscommunication and just not being detailed at the end. A lot of games in this league are won or lost really by you beating yourself ... Right at the end, at crunch time, is where you have to be at your best. Today, we didn't go out there and finish the job like we needed to."

Huntley started in place of star quarterback Lamar Jackson, who was deactivated before the game due to an illness that had forced him to miss practice Wednesday and Thursday. Dalton played most of the second half after Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields exited with an injury to his ribs.

Going deep: Dalton's 49-yard TD pass to Goodwin might have been one of the NFL's top plays of Week 11 had the Bears held on to win Sunday. Dalton lofted the ball deep down the middle of the field to Goodwin, who was wide open after beating cornerback Chris Westry with a tantalizing double move.

"It was a simple go route and Andy made the perfect throw," Goodwin said. "He made my job very easy. I know it looks like I made this crazy play, but I literally just ran under the ball. Perfect ball from the quarterback."

"It was cover-zero but cover-zero with a different look," Dalton said. "That's the style of play that Baltimore likes to play and we had an answer for it. I put it up there and let Marquise make a play and he made a big one at that point of the game."

Stepping up: Quinn and inside linebacker Roquan Smith helped fill the void for a defense that played without injured starters Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan and Eddie Jackson.

Quinn registered a career-high 3.5 sacks. Smith established a career high with 17 tackles while also recording two tackles-for-loss.

Clutch play: Tashaun Gipson Sr. thwarted one Ravens drive with a highlight-reel interception with 9:11 left in the fourth quarter, diving to the ground with Mark Andrews and swiping the ball away from the Pro Bowl tight end.

The pick came with the Bears protecting a precarious 7-6 lead and the Ravens already in star kicker Justin Tucker's field-goal range at the Bears' 22.

The interception was the fifth of the season for the Bears and the first by Gipson. It was also the defense's first pick since Oct. 10 when DeAndre Houston-Carson intercepted a Derek Carr pass in a win over the Raiders.

On the shelf: Receiver Allen Robinson II sat out Sunday's contest with a hamstring injury. It was the first time he missed a game since the 2018 season finale in Minnesota in his first year with the Bears.

In Robinson's absence, two Bears receivers topped the 100-yard mark, with Darnell Mooney catching five passes for 121 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown, and Goodwin hauling in four passes for 104 yards, including a 49-yard TD.

"I just tried to take every opportunity I could and try to make the best of it, knowing A-Rob was out, a big focal point of our offense," Mooney said.

One-liners: The Ravens recorded their first win at Soldier Field after losing their first three matchups with the Bears in Chicago ... The Bears have now lost three straight games to AFC North opponents (Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore) after their victory over the Bengals in the home opener had extended their winning streak over the division to 10 games dating back to 2013.

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